Meena had overslept after seeing Indian Idol late in the night and it was past 7am when she woke up. Her husband Nataraj would be leaving for the office by 8.15am and breakfast should be ready. Milk was not yet delivered. She took the only packet available from the fridge and boiled it for making coffee. It curdled to her dismay. The maid had abstained the previous evening and was yet to come. The vessels were in the sink unwashed. To add to the misery the power went off suddenly. The day had not begun well for Meena. She was fretting and fuming at Kavitha, her maid, for playing truant repeatedly and decided to tell her to stop coming if she cannot be regular.
Her daughter Trisha and son Kartik were still sleeping blissfully being holidays. Her husband was busy with his mobile opposite the TV and asking Meena now and then for coffee, his specs or his diary. The last straw was when the gas was over in the cylinder needing replacement. She started shouting “I am not a slave in this house to slog while others enjoy sleeping or watching TV. My parents have not sent me here as an unpaid servant. I am not making any breakfast. Let them order from Saravana Bhavan or anywhere if they need to eat.”
Nataraj shouted “Meena, talk gently. Don’t you see I am on the phone? Someone is ringing the doorbell. Please answer and keep ready the flowers for the puja.”
“I am on strike today. You can do your things without my help. I am not the only one in the house to answer the bell. Ask your children to get up and do the needful. I am having severe headache and I am going to lie down. If Kavita does not come, let them order food from caterers” she replied
Nataraj left for the office in a huff without taking breakfast. The children woke up in the noise but were afraid to come near their mom. It was around 9.30 am when Kavita made her appearance along with a sob story that her husband took ill suddenly and had to be taken to hospital. When she saw Meena buying her story, she requested Meena to advance her Rs.1000 towards medical expenses. Meena flatly refused saying that she had more than two months’ salary as advance already.
Kartik was telling his sister that he needed Rs. 1000 for a treat at Pizza Hut and that he had promised his friends lunch for being a topper in the class. He sought her help as he was afraid to broach the subject to mom in her present foul mood.
When Meena started shouting at the two for being lazy and late in rising from bed, Trisha thought it prudent not to talk about the money Kartik needed. Meena, being a good-natured person, could not deny the advance the maid had wanted. She kept Rs. 1000 on the dining table to be given to Kavita after she had finished the work. She went to rest after asking the local caterer to send food for lunch.
Kavita finished her work quickly and left in an angry mood that her request for advance was turned down. Trisha was not aware that money was kept on the dining table to be given to Kavita.
When Trisha was taking bath, Kartik found Rs. 1000 on the table and thinking it was kept for him he pocketed it and was thankful to Trisha for getting it from mom.
When Kavita came in the afternoon and pleaded with Meena again for the advance, she shouted at her, “How dare you ask me again after taking Rs.1000 kept for you on the dining table in the morning? What do you think we are? A tree raining money?”
“What Rs.1000, amma? What are you talking about? I have not taken any money,” she replied
“Trisha, where is the money I had kept on the table for Kavita? “asked Meena
“How would I know? You never told me of any money kept on the table. Ask your son?” she retorted.
The bell rang then. Kartik entered the hall laughing along with his friends after a hearty lunch consisting of ubiquitous Bruschetta, a veggie Pizza with a healthy mix of mushrooms, red onions, bell peppers, black olives, tomatoes and spinach, along with coke. He was surprised to see the angry face of his mom and the quizzical smile on his sister’s face. He asked her innocently,”Wassup?” oblivious of the storm to follow.